We Can’t Afford Not To…

I posted a picture recently of what payday looks like in our home.
This was the picture: 

I always get a comment that goes something like this:

“I would love to eat healthy, but it’s just too expensive”

My response is always: “No, it’s too expensive not to”

We are currently a family of 6. We haven’t paid a co-pay for a doctors visit in almost 5 years. I have no idea how much money we could have/would have spent in co-pays if all 4 of our children went to their monthly “well-baby” visits. Or if we went to the doctor in search of a diagnosis at every sign of sickness. But we don’t. I know, odd right? Our children get sick. All children do. We experience fevers, coughs, runny noses, diarrhea, vomiting, etc… but we treat these illnesses from home.

We have some pretty strong beliefs in our home:

*We are fearfully and wonderfully made.  We don’t fear sickness or illness. We know our bodies were created to successfully fight illness. Our society has done an excellent job instilling fear in us. So much so that we rush our children to the doctor at the first sign of a cough or a fever.  We take our “fear” to a doctor who gives us a “diagnosis” and a “treatment plan” and suddenly we feel better. And no-one gives a second thought as to why that visit never discussed proper nutrition or involved anything that remotely involved health or healing. Instead, we are handed scripts and prescriptions. Shots and pills. And suddenly repeat ear infections and multiple rounds of antibiotics become a “normal” part of childhood.  Says who?

One of my favorite articles. Ever. Regarding pediatrics. Written by the Thinking Moms Revolution and it’s titled: “They Say”. Who is “They” anyways? I’d love to know…

Sickness and Illness and Infections are nothing more than symptoms of a failing immune system. The answer is to build and strengthen the immune system. Not weaken it. Or mask it. Our current healthcare system is nothing more than sickcare. We manage sickness though a vicious cycle of revolving doors and masking symptoms.

*Side Note #1: I’m scared for the day when a serious and life threatening infection comes around, and all we are left with is an antibiotic resistant generation who were raised on antibiotics and don’t have the ability to fight a real infection.

*Side Note #2: Antibiotics for an ear infection are an unnecessary train-wreck. And fever reducers do not heal. They only mask symptoms. We have been taught that “healing” our children means we load them up with prescriptions and medications.

I’m saddened by parents talking about ear infections like they are normal. 4 children in this home and not a single ear infection ever. Or a single round of antibiotics. Ever.

*End of side notes.

Building an immune system is such a necessary and important part of childhood. There are way too many things that weaken the immune system. Two biggies: toxic food & unsafe and untested vaccines mandated for a childhood schedule that includes 49 vaccines before Kindergarten. Who are we kidding?

If you have not already, please read: Is This The Best We Can Offer?

With an infant mortality rate of #46 (that means babies in 46 other countries have a better chance of survival than in the U.S), childhood cancer on the rise at a 900% increase, and statistics such as 1 in 3 children are overweight and 1 in 6 children with a learning disability, asthma, ADHD, or food allergies, AND new autoimmune disorders & diseases coming out the woodworks…

Look at what we are putting into their bodies…

Back to the beliefs in our home:

*Let Thy Food Be Thy Medicine and Thy Medicine Be Thy Food. I am so extremely thankful for a husband who took the wisdom he found early in our marriage and ran with it. And by ran with it, I mean he took what he learned and applied it. I honestly feel as though we live with an in-house pediatrician. Rit has learned to treat and heal our children from everything from fevers, colds, & flus to head injuries, burns, rashes, & tummy aches.

I took this picture of Rit the day after Christmas.

Surrounded by our kiddos and some of his new gifts: his new shipment of herbs (everything from elder flowers, licorice root, lemon balm, fennel seed, rose hips, catnip, nettles, lavender, marshmallow leaf, goldenseal leaf…you name it. Rit has it), our medicine cabinet (sitting on his lap), with  a display of nothing you would ever see in a typical medicine cabinet, but filled with everything beneficial for fevers, coughs, headaches, tummy aches, teething, ear aches, tension, sleeplessness, urinary tract health, antimicrobials, antivirals, antifungals, antibacterials, antibiotics, pain relievers, sore throats, colds, & the flu. On the other side of him is his new juicer/blender. How thankful I have been for Rit’s creative juicing abilities.
jess juicing
Most recently when I returned from Uganda and Rit put me on a strict juicing regimn to help with the 7 weeks of chronic diarrhea I brought back with me. While other members on my team were hospitalized, I juiced and took a regimen of natural antibiotics (silver sol and liquid extracts of licorice, black walnut and wormwood) Juicing was key. If you don’t know the benefits of juicing, I highly recommend the documentary “Fat, Sick, & Nearly Dead”. It follows the one year journey of an extremely overweight and sick man who lived on a cocktail of meds and one year of juicing brought him to a place of health and wholeness and off of all pharmaceuticals, all by juicing. Extremely powerful!

Most importantly what Rit is surrounded by in the picture above is our children.  And really, they are the reason we do what we do. They are the reason we eat the way we eat. They are the reason we study and research like crazy. They are the reason we are sometimes considered “weird” or “extreme”. I used to love Taco Bell and coca cola on a nice hot day. Gone are the days of being uneducated.

Ignorance was bliss.

The health of our children is important to us. Really no different than why most parents take their children to regularly scheduled pediatrician visits. Parents go to a pediatrician because they want their children to be healthy. Same for us. We just do things that look a lot different. We choose health from home. And it starts and ends with food. Nutrition.

When the Tot was recently sick, Rit came home with a stalk of beets. “Beet Treats”. Who says beets cut into circles the shape of a cookie, steamed, coated in coconut oil, and sprinkled with cinnamon can’t be considered a “treat” that is really medicine?
The medicinal benefits of beets are endless. Not to mention the healing & health benefits of coconut oil and cinnamon. We are pretty sure she probably had “RSV”. Coughing, Weezing, Fever, Lethargic, Runny Nose, etc… The other kids in her class were diagnosed with it. Instead of a doctors visit and a diagnosis, we choose an RSV specific regimen of Young Living essential oils (around the clock for 2 days) and only life giving foods. Within 2 days, the Tot was better. Thank-you beet treats and essential oils :)
essential oils
To learn more about Young Living Essential Oils, please visit my sister Hailey’s website for information and to order: JoyWithinBirth.com I am absolutely blown away by these products! They are phenomenal!

*Eating healthy is fun. And super duper yummy. This past weekend, my new (almost) sister-in-law spent the day here. We made roasted organic potatoes that came out of the oven tasting like the world’s best french fries. We also made baked kale chips. Hello potato chip. Why didn’t anyone tell me about these sooner? And then we made an amazing spicy Kale salad: Olive oil, chili powder, nutritional yeast, tamari, & sea salt. Hello best salad ever. The funny thing is, we were so full after our cooking episode and we laughed because our bellies were full from only two things: potatos and kale. Which by the way, we just read the 7 reasons “Why Kale is the New Beef”.  So I guess you could say we ate beef and potatoes all day :)

Healthy Food is Pretty Too :) This is a big pan of veggies about to get baked!

*What matters is evident: Rit & I joked last summer that we spent our summer vacation at Whole Foods. What we mean by that is… we did not go on a family vacation this past summer. Why? A large part of our budget goes to healthy food. We would rather forgo a family vacation to Disney so that we can feed our children properly throughout the year. And we are happy with that. Because that is what is most important to us. Fancy vacations, nice cars, cable tv. We will go without it all. We value our health.

It drives me a bit nusto when someone tells me they can’t afford to eat healthy. If you own a smartphone or have cable tv, you can afford healthy food. It’s a choice. Show me your checkbook and I’ll show you what you value.

When we started getting really serious about the way we eat, the last thing to go was cable tv. Was it a sacrifice? Yes and No. The only thing we really miss is football season. But that doesn’t stop us from going to my parents for games. Other than that, I do not at all miss cable tv. It’s been 2 years now without a single television channel. Who says that we are supposed to have 350 channels available to us 24 hours a day? Now a days with Hulu and Neflix and iTunes, we have our fair share of shows and movies to enjoy. We aren’t that deprived :)

Tomorrow I’m going to do a Part II post, sharing another blessing of what getting rid of cable tv has done for our family!

Let me end with the original picture and the reason behind this post:


Rit & I are so blessed to be parents. Our prayer is that we will best stewards that we can be over the children God has given us. And I can’t think of a more important way to be a steward over our children than to make sure that they are healthy and whole: physically, nutritionally, mentally, spiritually, & emotionally. A healthy body is a healthy mind.

And I believe with all of my heart it begins with what we put into their bodies. Every single thing we put into their bodies. 

So yes, payday in our home is a fun day. It’s the day when our 4 kids eat $15 of organic blueberries in 35 seconds. And we couldn’t be happier, because we know that was only one small co-pay that we’ve avoided for 5 years now.

We can’t afford not to…

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29 thoughts on “We Can’t Afford Not To…

  1. This is one of my favorite posts that you have written. I so wish I could go back 12 or more years and re-do how I did everything. I would do it just like you have written here. So much here for people to learn from if they will just listen.

  2. Hi
    you mention that Rit has learned how to use herbs/food/etc.

    We have worked on this ourselves, and i know there are many sites with info, still, always looking for more info/to compare.

    Is it possible to provide links (maybe they are on your blog? – fairly newish reader), to this info and recipes?


  3. Love LOVE LOVE!! I heard ya and understand. People tell me all the time that they can’t live like I do…what buying all my clothing at consignment shops, yard sales, no cable, no fancy cars, no trips to expensive places, but we eat well! Buy organic also raise as much as we can and freeze for later. I just spent 2 full days gathering nuts, shelling them and freezing them for “snacks” and oh on the blue berries, this spring get you some bushes…plant in huge pots (honestly I picked mine up off the side of the road someone was tossing) and grow blue berries, pick and drop in the freezer! Our favorite winter treat…banana blue better pecan bread made out of chick pea flour!! :)

  4. This is exactly how I want our family to live too. How do you know which supplements/herbs are good for your children when they get sick?

  5. This is a great post. (I love the pic of your little one on the table having foot oils applied.) This was a refreshing post during a time when everyone’s going nutso about getting the flu shot and try to tag you a irresponsible or careless b/c you choose not too. So sad to see people so blindly follow something that’s so terrible for them and their children and then vehemently bash you for not doing so. I’d love to know what you do for daily immune-boosting. Kind of like a, “we’re sure to juice/take CLO/do massage/get outside/etc. every day.” I came to your blog via a facebook look and am excited to look around. Praise God for your willingness to speak out on this topic!

  6. Very well written, I also wish I could go back to when my kids were young (they are 25 and 24 now) and know all that I know now. But at least my grandchildren will be vaccine-free and fed the best and most healthy foods!!

  7. To me, this is such a beautiful picture! We get much of our food through Azure Standard, so 1x/month I come home with boxes of “medicine…”-20 lb. boxes of apples, 40 lbs. of oranges, 10 lbs. of lemons, onions, garlic, kale, squash, etc. etc. To me, when I see food like this, I see God’s handiwork! It is amazing the foods He gave to us, all serving different health-related functions-and in such beautiful colors! While it might cost more upfront, I have actually compared what we spend in food each month with friend’s families of similar sizes, and we consistently spend less, eating drastically different! Yes, it is more “work” for me upfront to do all of the prepping & cooking, but worth it in so many ways!

    I just had to share this-Your blog has been such a help to me. While I haven’t cut out well-child checkups yet (as of now, our insurance covers 100% so I use them to get height, weight etc. etc.-the basics) today is the 1st day I have declined vaccinations for my children! It is something I have been praying about and was pretty nervous to see how the dr. would handle it (new doctor to our family-our old, younger doctor would not have handled it the same way!) and Praise God, while I can’t say that he sided with me, he did not oppose me the way I thought and was happy that I was following my gut-if more parents would do that, our health would be much better I think! So thanks for all of the research, work & time you put into trying to help others–your work is certainly helping our family! God Bless!

    • Thank-you so much for your comment! I appreciate the kinds words and for you taking the time to share your story. Praise God for a new doctor who respected you! I couldn’t agree more. My biggest prayer is that mommas would follow their God given instinct and gut! And yes, our health and the health of our children would be drastically different if we followed our instincts more!

      I love what Dr. Wakefield says:

      “To the parents I would say, trust your instinct above all else. When considering how to vaccinate your children, read, get educated, and demand fully informed consent and answers to your questions. When you are stonewalled or these answers are not to your satisfaction, trust your instinct. I say this as someone who has studied and engaged in the science and who has become aware of the limitations of our knowledge and understanding of vaccine safety issues. Maternal instinct, in contrast, has been a steady hand upon the tiller of evolution; we would not be here without it”

  8. My dh is an audiologist who works on ears all day every day. The true statistics on ear infections are 1/3 clear up on their own, 1/3 don’t clear up at all and 1/3 clear up with antibiotics, so you have a 33% chance of a “cure” with a round of antibiotics. I am sure that there are similar studies for all the other common childhood ailments. We don’t eat nearly that healthy but we never go to the doctor either, maybe because my husband works in that field, don’t know, but definitely something to think about and understand better. Thanks for the encouragement to do just that.

    • Thanks so much for taking the time to share this! Dr. Mendelsohn (pediatrician of over 30 years) shares different statistics as to the role antibiotics play in ear infections, since most ear infections are viral and not bacterial (antibiotics are not necessary or beneficial). In his most excellent book: “How To Raise A Healthy Child In Spite of Your Doctor”, he shares that in his 30 years of pediatrics, antibiotics played no role in the duration or healing of ear infections. Very interesting to think about. I appreciate you taking the time to share!

  9. Question for you: if you don’t vaccinate at all or even just skip some of them, will there be a problem sending your children to school? I visited a possible preschool for my daughter today and she asked me if she was up to date on all her vaccines? How would I handle that in the future if she wasn’t?

  10. Pingback: Part II: Outdoor Play | Gianelloni Family

  11. I can see your points to an extent and we eat healthy as well. But our good friends lost their baby girl at 8 months old because she had RSV and a high fever and the fever caused two seizures – one she did not recover from. I get it but I still believe there are some things that medicine is good for.

    • I’m so sorry to hear about your friends baby. I too believe medicine is good. There are two kinds of medicines though: Manmade pharmaceuticals and God made versions. We believe in medicine. We have a medicine cabinet. It is filled with everything that God created. From things that aggressively treat RSV (just treated it for my youngest) to fevers.

      Really, it’s a mindset as to which form of medicine you believe in.

      Best wishes!

  12. Pingback: Why Do I Care So Much? | Gianelloni Family

  13. Hi Gianelloni family! My name is Catalina, I am mother of 2 boys (7and 2) and I leave across the world from you, in Romania (Eastern Europe). One day I came across this blog, I don’t remember how, and I saved the link to read it when I have time. It is amazing to discover that mothers across the world are wakening up (like someone wrote that earlier in a comment) and understand that feeding our babies with wrong food and a lot of medicines means in fact keeling them with our own hands. I , too, wake up, about 2 years ago, when my second son was born. Two things happened: first I was told that my baby cries for hunger and I was asked to stop breastfeeding and put him on a formula – which I did, because I was still trusting our pediatrician (a doctor educated also in USA); the result was that my baby continued to cry , plus he started to have green staff in his dipper. The second thing that happened was that my first son, 5 at that time, could a cold that was not passing for 5 month and he was treated by the doctor with a bunch of chemicals, antibiotics included. It was a shock for a mother that did everything “right” until that moment: all the visits to the doctor (that indeed cost a fortune – we went always to the best in town, never looked at the money when thinking of our children’s health), all the vaccines, all the prescriptions as per the doctor’s order! So I stopped! I put my eldest son on a cure (my idea only) of bee products (I don’t know how all of them are called in English, but I will search and come back if anyone wants to know). He started to recover very well. We were eating well, as I always cooked and I was always a fan of vegetables but we switched to organic (70-80%- I cannot find always all I need in organic version, but we try our best to eat as organic as possible). I stopped vaccinations also, not then , but a few months later ( as I was looking for more information over my youngest son’s crying I also read about the real effects of vaccinations – books wrote by doctors not just internet!!!). We switched our doctor and now we go to a doctor that also specialized in homeopathy, biotherapy (? therapy with plants) and bee therapy (? therapy with bee products). My sons are healthy now, any small cold goes away in a couple of days, no antibiotics at all during this time. My youngest has recovered only with this treatment of plants, herbs and homeopath medication from a hard flue that we all had in January last year (he was one year old). I know now how to tread fever “the old way”, so for a long, long time I have not used at all the fever relief medication either. Our autumn cure to strengthen our body is with honey and seabuckthorn and cranberry. There is one more thing I want to mention, that is that you are lucky that the father is open minded. I had to fight with my husband in order to be where I am now, he was a huge opposition to stop vaccinating, go “expensive” organic and change the “best doctor” in town. The fact that my sons had passed over the winter and over the one episode of flue so easy (in comparison with the previous years) made him change his mind also, but for a while we were at war.

  14. And thanks for the links on food, nutrition, vaccinations. I opened a few and they lead to a “treasure” of information.

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